Since I work for digital media, I am on my phone a lot, even during work hours. I find myself getting tempted to check notifications fully well knowing that it is not urgent. I am sure even those of you who don’t work online are still distracted by your phones. In this world of constant information bombardment, it is hard to strike the balance – you can’t quit technology but you also need it to not be an obstacle. Concept designs like Companion, a distraction-free smartphone, is what we need.
Companion provides the basic functions of the smartphone, all essentials stripped of the things that send us into a doomscrolling spiral. The portable tech accessory is a smartphone that monitors the user’s environment via in-built sensors to keep them informed. Companion’s form is minimal and organic which is true to its purpose. It includes an earpiece, an E-Ink display (magnetic ink), a microphone, a wide + ultra-wide camera lens with flash, and an air quality sensor. Companion also has a loop at the bottom making it into a wearable tech accessory – in fact, it was specifically modeled to be worn!
“An exploration into current forms and features of products similar to the function of the smartphone helped evaluate the more important aspects of their designs. Soft forms reminiscent of pebbles evoked a more natural and organic feel. After playing with five forms and narrowing it down, a combination of sketching, rapid CAD, card and foam prototyping, and visualization techniques were used to finalize the overall form of the product and its most prominent features,” says Burrell.
The conceptual smartphone is made from a bioplastic that is easily manufactured and equally easy to disassemble which helps to create a closed-loop system where plastic is recycled many times over without ending up in a landfill. Continuing to build on the pebble inspiration, the design’s colors feature a tri-color speckle pattern on top with soft hues like the ones found naturally on pebbles. It also doesn’t have any ports – this frees up internal space and also makes it water-resistant. No ports means that Companion is charged wirelessly. A phone where I don’t get email notifications or have to reply to every DM? I am sold!
Designer: Joseph Burrell